DIY Leather Shoe Repair: What You Should Know

In a world where fast fashion often dictates our footwear choices, the art of repairing and restoring leather shoes has become a lost craft.

However, there’s a sense of satisfaction and sustainability in breathing new life into a worn pair of beloved shoes rather than discarding them. DIY leather shoe repair is not only a practical skill but also a nod to the craftsmanship of yesteryears.

Whether it’s a scuffed heel, a worn-out sole, or a tear in the leather, knowing how to mend your shoes can save you money and reduce your environmental footprint.

But how do you get started? We’re here to help.

Let’s go through what to know about DIY shoe repair.

Check Out the Damage

You’ll need to figure out what the damage actually is before you start the shoe renewal process.

If the sole is coming apart or has a hole, you can use shoe glue or adhesive to reattach it. Clean the area thoroughly, apply the adhesive, and press the sole firmly back into place. For larger holes, you may need to use a patch or filler material before gluing.

On the other hand, a heel requires a different approach. You can replace it with a new one. Shoe repair kits often include replacement heel caps and instructions for installation. Make sure to choose a heel cap that lines up with the specific size and shape of your original heel.

If the upper part of the shoe is torn or damaged, you can mend it using a strong adhesive or stitching. For fabric or leather uppers, you may need a patch or reinforcement material to strengthen the area before repairing it.

Repairing suede or nubuck shoes can be trickier due to their delicate nature. For minor scuffs or stains, you can use a suede brush or eraser to restore the appearance.

For more significant damage, such as tears or deep stains, consider consulting a professional shoe repair service.

Get the Supplies You Need

To effectively repair your shoes at home, you’ll need a few essential supplies. 

For repairing holes or reinforcing weak areas, you may need patch material or filler. This could include leather patches, fabric patches, or flexible fillers designed for shoe repair. Start shopping for leather in Melbourne.

If you’re repairing suede or nubuck shoes, a suede brush or eraser can help restore the appearance by removing scuffs and stains.

If your worn shoes have broken eyelets or worn-out laces, you’ll need replacement eyelets and new laces. Eyelet repair kits often come with the necessary tools for installation.

Choose a heavy-duty thread that matches the color of your shoe’s stitching. Needles with a sharp point and sturdy construction are essential for stitching repairs.

For beginners, it can be helpful to have instructions or online guides available for reference, especially for more complex repairs like sole replacement or stitching.

Clean Up Your Shoes

Before you start repairing, you’ll need to clean your shoes.

Use a soft-bristled brush or a dry cloth to remove any loose dirt, debris, or dust from the surface of your shoes. Pay attention to seams, crevices, and textured areas where dirt may accumulate.

For smaller stains, you can use a damp cloth or a sponge with some soap or detergent to spot-clean the affected areas. Softly rub the stained areas in a circular motion, then wipe away the soap residue with a clean, damp cloth.

Remove your insoles from your old shoes and gently scrub them with a mild soap solution. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and let them dry out completely before putting them back in the shoes.


If you notice loose or missing stitching, you’ll need to take a needle and thread to your shoes.

Cut a length of thread that is long enough to stitch the area needing repair, typically around 18-24 inches. Thread one end of the thread through the needle and tie a knot at the other end to secure it.

Begin stitching from one end of the damaged area, pushing the needle through both layers of material. Pull your thread through until the knot you made before catches on the inside of the shoe.

Try and use either a running stitch or whip stitch to sew along the damaged seam or area. Keep your stitches evenly spaced and tight for a secure repair. If the material is thick or difficult to sew through, you may need to use pliers to help pull the needle through.

Once you reach the end of the damaged area, tie off the thread securely with a knot on the inside of the shoe. Trim any excess thread with scissors.

Once you’ve finished restitching, inspect your work to ensure that your new stitches are tight and secure. Test your repair strength by gently pulling on the seams.

To further reinforce the stitches and prevent them from unraveling, you can apply a small amount of seam sealer or clear nail polish to the stitched area. Allow it to dry out entirely before wearing the shoes.

Remember to Dry

After repairing your shoes, remove any excess moisture with a dry cloth or paper towels. Pay special attention to seams, crevices, and areas where water may have accumulated.

Place your shoes in a well-ventilated area at room temperature to air dry naturally. Try not to put them near direct heat sources such as radiators, heaters, or direct sunlight, as this can cause your shoe leather to warp, crack, or shrink.

To help your old shoes retain their shape and absorb moisture more effectively, insert shoe trees or stuff them with crumpled paper towels or newspaper.

This will also help them dry more evenly and prevent them from causing any creases or wrinkles.

Periodically rotate the position of your shoes while they’re drying to ensure all sides dry evenly. This is especially important for shoes with thick materials or padding that may take longer to dry.

DIY Shoe Repair: Start Today

There’s so much that goes into DIY shoe repair. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to start trying it out

Are you searching for more home and lifestyle advice? Take a look at some of our useful posts for all the help you need.

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